Group aims to take the stigma out of suicide
With good grades, mounds of athletic talent and one of those picture-worthy smiles, the world seemed to be at Steve Hutchison’s finger tips.
That’s why his suicide in February came as such a shock.
In the four months since his death, the pain hasn’t gotten any easier for Myrna Hutchison, Steve's mom. “People often mention how strong we are coming through this" "We are very broken inside. It is a tragic, tragic event that has happened in our life and we are working through it together.”
Steve’s dad, Stu Hutchison, says he didn’t suspect his son to have suicidal thoughts. He wasn’t one of those guys. “He wouldn’t give out what he was feeling, show his emotions. It was all about being tough.”
Mental toughness, the Hutchison’s have learned, is difficult to read.
Men are three times more likely to commit suicide in Canada. Suicide is also one of the leading causes of death among young people aged 15 to 34.
So on a cloudy Saturday morning in Arthur the Hutchison’s, and a group of Steve’s friends, decided to help others who may be struggling with mental illness. The day, called Get in Touch for Hutch, offered intimate details into the stories of those affected by suicide.
The Hutchison’s got the idea for Get in Touch for Hutch after a rare hashtag showed up on Twitter. During Bell’s Let’s Talk event, the Hutchison’s noticed a tweet that said #GetInTouchForHutch. The family says it’s a tag line that would catch on and they would continue to see it a number of times throughout the remainder of that day.
Yolanda Cameron understands what the Hutchison’s are going through. Her 16 year-old son, Wes, killed himself nearly two years ago. “For our family there is no such thing as happiness anymore because part of us is not here to part of that.”
Cameron started a counselling website aimed at getting young people, and their families, the help needed to deal with mental illness.
If detected early, the website could have been credited with helping Steve. Instead, the Hutchison’s are left to remember the promise their son held and a message for every other family – to not be afraid to talk.